A mother is sharing her story of how she and her husband rejected abortion for their son, born with half a heart, and is now motivated more than ever to fight for the lives of children considered “imperfect” by society.
Lisa Smiley became pregnant at age 23, and during her 20-week ultrasound, it was discovered that her baby boy had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. She and her husband were encouraged to abort.
“We had already told them we are against abortion, no matter how serious our son’s condition was, yet they were not satisfied and thought we were being idealistic,” Smiley wrote for Live Action News.
While doctors told Smiley’s husband privately that the couple would not want to “burden” themselves with the “pain and suffering” of a child would eventually die, the Smileys held their ground.
“[N]ow our convictions would be tested in real life,” she recalled.
When Ezekiel “Zeke” was born, he was rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit and place on life support. He had heart surgery at a week old and spent most of his first year of life on oxygen. Zeke also struggled with acid reflux and had a malrotated bowel.
He underwent additional heart operations at one and five years of age.
“The medical odds were against his survival, yet by God’s grace Zeke somehow pulled through all the surgeries, complications and setbacks,” Smiley wrote. “He hit all the childhood milestones despite these obstacles. He is a miracle child who has proven doctors wrong over and over again.”
Last year, Zeke went into sudden cardiac arrest, and the Smileys again found themselves fighting for his life.
“The doctors told us Zeke was in a vegetative state, never to recover, and would inevitably pass away. We were advised to let him go: stop all meds and all food, as the ‘most humane’ thing to do for him and for our family,” Smiley recalled. “Once again, we would have to live out our pro-life convictions when we were presented with the option to passively euthanize our son.”
Instead of placing him in an institution to die, the couple took their son home and once again witnessed him overcome the odds.
“[W]ith intense daily therapy for the past year and a half—along with vital prayer and encouragement—Zeke has miraculously been healing,” Smiley outlined. “He is learning to eat, walk, and talk again.”
She said that her own son’s story has motivated her to be even more of an outspoken advocate for life—especially those that are often considered the weak and unwanted in society.
“While our throwaway culture may come to other conclusions, my experience with Zeke has made me more pro-life than ever before,” Smiley wrote. “I have become more impassioned to speak for children who are deemed imperfect, so unwanted by our society that we would want to snuff out their lives before they have even had the chance to be born.”
“As the intrinsic right to life extends to me, it should rightly extend to Zeke and all children—no matter what the circumstance,” she continued. “It is not about me, it is about my child’s life. As a mother, at the very least, I can give him the chance at life that everyone should receive—no matter how long, how hard, how joyful, how fulfilling, or happy it turns out to be.”